Friday, February 19, 2016

Daily Devotional: February 19

Parable of Workers in the Vineyard, Rembrandt, 1637
Week 4, Day 5, The Gospel According to Matthew. Chapter 20

This Parable cuts me to the core of my Western Christian heart. In Matthew 20, there are great stories. We see the mother's request, Christ predicting His death, and even two men being healed from blindness. The parable of the workers in the vineyard leads the chapter and is one of the great examples of Christ explaining His new kingdom and how different it is from what we might want.

We have a strong sense of fairness. We want those who do good to get good things and those who do evil to get bad things. We want some sort of justice to rule the day, and appoint ourselves as judges and juries in our own lives. The idea of karma comes from this deep feeling that somehow justice will prevail and we will get a reward for the good things we have done. Most of the time, we really just want to be proven to be better people than our neighbors. 

Are you envious because He is generous?

The thing about unconditional love is that it's unconditional. It doesn't matter how long you've followed God or how many times you've been to church, it's the same love. It doesn't matter if you become aware of Christ's love as a six year-old or a sixty year-old, it's the same love. Some of us, who have been doing the church thing our whole lives, want this to not be the case, if we are honest. We want to be treated better because of our years of service. We want karma. 

In this story, Jesus shows us the generous heart of God. All who come, no matter when they come, will be given the same amount. There is no karma. We all get love, we all get acceptance, we all get Grace and that is what makes it amazing. No matter who I am or what I have done or am doing, God's Grace covers me. The idea of karma flies at the face of the generous Master who wants to give to everyone who labors on the earth. 

Are you envious because He is generous?

The example of the Master in the story is one all of us who have bank accounts that aren't overdrawn should heed. He gives generously, regardless of whether someone "deserves" it. This idea wouldn't win many elections, but Jesus isn't trying to be the President--He is already the king. Jesus is advocating for a sort of justice that affirms the inherent equality of all humanity. Nothing we do robs us of our humanity, or makes us less worthy than anyone else. 

For those of us who aren't perfect, this is such good news. We are loved and accepted and found worthy of an inheritance. For those who think they deserve more than others, this is a cautionary tale. We should not be envious because He is generous to all. We get the same infinite Love and Grace and Mercy as everyone else! Our lives should be marked with gratitude. 

Spend time today asking for eyes to see everyone as worthy of the Love you have been given.

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.